10 July 2018 Long-term monitoring of the throughput in Las Cumbres Observatory's fleet of telescopes
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Abstract
The Las Cumbres Observatory operates a fleet of robotically controlled telescopes currently two 2m, nine 1m, and ten 0.4m telescopes, distributed amongst six sites covering both hemispheres. Telescopes of an aperture class are equipped with an identical set of optical imagers, and those data are subsequently processed by a common pipeline (BANZAI). The telescopes operate without direct human supervision, and assessing the daily and long-term scientific productivity of the fleet of telescopes and instruments poses an operational challenge. One key operational metric of a telescope/instrument system is throughput. We present a method of long-term performance monitoring based on nightly science observations: For every image taken in matching filters and within the footprint of the PANSTARRS DR1 catalog we derive a photometric zeropoint, which is a good proxy for system throughput. This dataset of over 250000 data points enables us to answer questions about general throughput degradation trends, and how individual telescopes perform at the various sites. This particular metric is useful to plan the effort level for on-site support and to prioritize the cleaning and re-aluminizing schedule of telescope optics and mirrors respectively.
Conference Presentation
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Daniel-Rolf Harbeck, Daniel-Rolf Harbeck, Curtis McCully, Curtis McCully, Andrew Pickles, Andrew Pickles, Nikolaus Volgenau, Nikolaus Volgenau, Patrick Conway, Patrick Conway, Brook Taylor, Brook Taylor, "Long-term monitoring of the throughput in Las Cumbres Observatory's fleet of telescopes", Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 1070401 (10 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314243; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2314243
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